Removal of subsidy on super gas a possibility
Motorists who use super graded gasoline and diesel fuel are next on Finance Minister Larry Howai's list.
He is hoping that Government would be able to make another dent in the $4 billion fuel subsidy by as early as next year.
Speaking at the Energy Chamber's annual general meeting luncheon at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) hotel, Port of Spain, yesterday, Howai acknowledged that even with the removal of the subsidy on premium gas in Monday's national budget, other fuel prices remained "heavily subsidised".
Premium fuel prices were increased on Tuesday from $4 per litre to $5.75 (44 per cent higher) following Howai's budget presentation in Parliament.
Yesterday he compared the cost of the fuel subsidy to other projects, saying the annual subsidy could build "three hospitals and 25 schools".
"We left super and diesel untouched, but this must be addressed so we don't mortgage our future," he said.
The subsidy on super gas accounts for 41 per cent of the total volume of gasoline sold and 45 per cent of the subsidy, he said.
Premium users account for nine per cent of the volume of gasoline sold in the country.
Gradually, "we will see market forces playing a part in fuel prices", he added.
Howai's plan involves possibly removing the super gas subsidy and at least the marine fuel one as early as next year.
His aim is to replace drivers' dependence on premium, super and diesel and replace it with cheaper, cleaner compressed natural gas (CNG).
This will involve a CNG initiative, which will include 62 mobile and physical gas stations, construction of which will start next year, Howai told reporters following the luncheon.
He agreed with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar that some vehicles that use premium gas could switch to the cheaper super fuel.